Back on track save the day
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All the Mighty Mouse's transmission shafts were worn and pitted, but the gears were still usable. Bud and Carl made new shafts or salvaged the old shafts by fitting them with custom bushings so they'd still accept bearings that fit their bore. One new shaft needed a keyway cut into it. Since Bud didn't have a milling machine, he cut that key-way with a hacksaw, chisel and files. Only later was he given a small mill. 'I could probably have made it better in about a tenth of the time with the mill,' he laughs. 'But you do what you do.' Bud also fabricated an output shaft seal housing so that the old odd-sized leather seal could be replaced with a standard synthetic oil seal.
The Mighty Mouse had literally been worked into the ground, so the roller diameters were in significantly less-than-new condition. To replace the rollers, Bud looked for trolley wheels, mining cart wheels and virtually every other possibility with no success. Serendipitously, he was at the local scrap yard and found some 5-inch-diameter round stock.
Bud cut the roller blanks from that scrap steel with an antique Marvel #1 draw-cut saw, which he'd restored many years earlier. It took the saw a few hours to make each cut because it was designed to accept 4-inch maximum-diameter stock.
Next, the blanks spent several hours on an antique Sears/Atlas 9-inch lathe where they were turned and bored for their 1-inch axle pins. Bud's son Ron said that the first roller took about 17 hours to make. The tractor has 16 total rollers, so they all got plenty of roller fabrication time on the lathe.
The hydraulic system consisted of a belt-driven Vickers pump with a Mead Specialties cylinder. The pump was relatively easy to fix, requiring only new bearings, seals and a gasket set, even though it was full of water. The oil reservoir needed to be cleaned and its surface rust removed, but the cylinder was a disaster.
Bud considered turning a new piston for the cylinder from cold rolled steel. When he mentioned it to Fred Nass on one of his visits to Escondido, Fred took the whole cylinder on the plane back to Alaska where he completely refurbished it and even made a stainless steel piston. At this point, there was only the bodywork and the blade to finish.
Over the course of two years, Bud, Ron, Randy, Carl and Fred managed to resurrect the machine. Fred Einer, the original owner, stopped by regularly to supervise their progress and was also the first to take the Mighty Mouse for a test drive.